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Beginning with the 2012-13 influenza season, the Erlanger Health System is requiring all employees to have the annual influenza vaccination or possess "an approved qualified exception." The new policy has some Erlanger employees, who have qualms about flu shots, starting a petition drive. Erlanger spokesperson Pat Charles said, "Erlanger joins a long list of leading health care systems across the country, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, making employee vaccinations mandatory in order to better protect vulnerable patients from the potentially deadly flu virus."She said Dr. James Creel, Erlanger’s chief medical officer, is a strong proponent of mandatory vaccinations for hospital employees.
He said, “As the leading and largest healthcare provider in this region, Erlanger is ethically obligated to take every precaution to prevent the spread of influenza and to keep our patients, co-workers and others safe from acquiring the flu virus in a healthcare setting. People come to us with the expectation of getting well and we should give them that assurance,” he stated. There are 173 signatures thus far on an online petition "Stop the Flu Shot Mandate for Erlanger Employees."
Beth Jolley, who is leading the petition drive, said, "This year, Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, TN, is imposing an influenza vaccine mandate on all of its employees as a condition of employment (in other words, if you don't receive a flu shot, you will be terminated). There are many employees who have personal convictions for not wanting to receive the flu vaccine but are not allowed to opt out unless they have a 'valid medical reason'. Whether or not you get a flu shot or believe they are beneficial, PLEASE sign this petition if you believe Erlanger employees should have the right to decide if getting a flu shot is in the best interests of their own personal well-being. THANK YOU!!!"
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